At the National Press Club in Washington, DC, last
night--largely a mainstream milieu--Greg Palast was the featured star in the room
for eclectic journalists, the Sarah McClendon Room, where another recent guest
had been Helen Thomas.
Around a long, narrow table in the overcrowded room, press and others feasted on both the Club's popular cuisine and the steadily rising star's witty discussion of chosen portions of his latest book, Vultures' Picnic.
Introduced by Andy Craig as the greatest reporter in the English-speaking world, Palast immediately claimed instead to be a "dull guy on BBC News in London." The greatest reporter was there to discuss his most personal book yet, in order to draw more people in, he said, because the word must spread and he continues to be amazed how the mainstream media (MSM) in this country can turn their back on the stories he reports all over the world and at the horrendous and outrageous crimes thereby condoned.
Not that the homeland government is any bastion of rectitude. Palast has covered that before.
Dan Rather lost his job for reporting one of Palast's Bush-bashing stories in this country, even though he was right. Cronkite's protege has since done more muckraking in another of Palast's favorite areas, election fraud (and probably more).
The audience laughed when Palast told of his Number One Vulture, Paul "Goldfinger" Singer, calling his office to threaten them with the file he is keeping on Palast. Why, the office has a file on him, too--and it's climbing to the bestseller list. Number One Vulture is also Number One donor to the Republican Party, the Have-Most?
Paul Krugman called Singer the one-percent of the one-percent of the one-percent.
Wait, wait--there's more: Goldfinger purchased legislation from New York to legalize gay marriage. Such an icon. Like Cheney, he is deeply sympathetic to GLBT issues as the father of a gay son, who married his partner soon thereafter.
Perhaps Vultures' Picnic should be retitled Job Creators' Picnic? They do promise to hire hundreds of thousands of us if Canadian sands importation is allowed. But the pipelines are in such awful condition, flouting explicit federal guidelines, Palast also reports, and the one guilt-ridden "Pigman" (pipeline engineer) who admitted to the shoddy maintenance was imprisoned. The MSM was too busy with Michael Jackson's personal anesthesiologist or something similar to report on this technological outrage.
Not sexy enough.
There are heroes as well as villains in Palast's
And how dare BP maintain its self-righteous logo as a green gas station? Not only is the most recent blowout in Louisiana attributable to cost corners cut--in this case nitrogen-laced [read: cheap] cement--there was another two years ago that was successfully kept out of the limelight courtesy of another corner cutter well known for its masterful construction projects in Iraq, Halliburton.
The blowout two years ago took place in Baku, Azerbaijan. Read the gory details in Vultures' Picnic. And spread the word.
Quipped Palast soon after, quoting from his lively narrative that the [British] National Union of Journalists is fighting for First Amendment rights in the UK, which has none: "You can borrow ours. We're not using it."
Back to BP, Palast told us that the British behemoth, which supplies half the fuel consumed by the U.S. military, had already been warned many times about the need to update and maintain its rigs and associated polluting devices--oops, I mean a euphemism of some sort. The scandal had been revealed by the PBS news series Frontline.
Chevron had been held up to BP as a positive role model. Evidently no one had read Palast's expose about the oil mogul's artwork in the Peruvian jungle (discussed in the same chapter of Vultures' Picnic). But besides that, one standard exists for the entire consortium of devils: BP-Chevron-Shell-Exxon-Conoco, and all use the same equipment.